When asked to describe the best picture he has taken, freelance photographer and former photojournalist, Rich Chapman doesn’t hesitate. “I haven’t taken it yet,” he says. This is not to suggest a lack of worthwhile choices. Throughout his career, Chapman has photographed such high-profile subjects as Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, Walter Payton, Tom Hanks, and Al Pacino.
Despite those recognizable personalities and celebrities, Chapman identifies more with the less-celebrated members of society. “Some of the most important and enjoyable pictures are of ordinary people,” he said. “I can share their stories with others.”
Chapman considers his camera the tool for his storytelling. “A news photographer’s responsibility is to document the circle of life, everything from birth to death,” Chapman says. “To this day, I’m still amazed, honored and humbled that I’ve been allowed to witness the greatest moments in our lives, and some of the darkest and saddest ones too.”
May 30, 2013 brought a personally dark and sad moment close to home. The Chicago Sun-Times laid off its entire photography staff, including Chapman, a 23-year employee and Algonquin resident. Chapman, a natural at finding the proper focal point, shifted his attention to building his freelance photography services. He shoots weddings, corporate events and business profiles.
Running now through the end of February, the Algonquin Area Public Library is displaying some of his recent food photography taken at local restaurants. “Setting up shots to accompany restaurant reviews was one of my favorite assignments in the past,” Chapman said. He hopes the AAPLD display, showcasing the artistic flare of local chefs, can lead to more food photography opportunities.
Chapman will also conduct a program at AAPLD Tuesday, January 14 from 7pm until 8:30pm. Taking Better Storytelling Pictures aims to teach composition, simple lighting and something more: “How to capture defining moments,” Chapman said, “Using your best camera…the one that’s with you.”
To reserve a space, please visit the Events page of www.aapld.org. The program and display of Chapman’s photography take place at AAPLD’s main library, 2600 Harnish Drive, Algonquin, IL. For more information, call 847.458.6060.